Vietnamese Beef Rice Noodle Bowls

IMG_4162These bowls were so good!  It’s an easy, healthy meal and perfect for a summer evening.  I used very thinly sliced beef (sirloin) and marinated it for about 4-5 hours before cooking it in a hot pan with a some canola oil and sesame oil.

I sliced up the veggies in advance and collected all of the toppings together in a small pan and placed it in the fridge so that when I was ready to assemble the bowls, everything was ready to go.  I decided to “pickle” the carrots and cucumbers, so I placed them in a small container, added some salt, sugar, and rice vinegar, and let them rest in the fridge.  In my recipe below, I do not have specific amounts for the veggies or toppings – that’s because you can slice up and prepare as much or as little as you want (that’s the beauty of the bowl meal!)  The sauce for the bowls was tasty, and I also prepared that about an hour in advance so it could sit in the fridge and allow the flavors to mix together.  When we were ready to eat, it was simply a matter of putting some of the noodles (I left them at room temp) in the bowl, cooking the meat, then layering it on top of the noodles, and adding the rest of the veggies and toppings.  I served the sauce in a bowl on the side, so we could each use as much or as little as we wanted.

I also attempted to make “fresh rolls.”  Sometimes I see these referred to as basil rolls, spring rolls, or rice paper rolls.  I took the advice I found on RecipeTin Eats and rolled my rice noodles and veggies in a piece of lettuce first, then placed the bundle on the rice paper above the shrimp and basil, which definitely made it easier to roll.  I also added shredded carrots and julienned cucumber to the rice noodles for additional flavor and color. I think I just didn’t pull mine tight enough because I was worried about tearing the rice paper.  I also think I may have stuffed them too full!  I’m sure with practice I would get the hang of it!  One thing that did help was gathering all of my ingredients in a small baking pan so everything was there and ready to go when I assembled the rolls.  *Note, for dipping, I used prepared peanut sauce that I purchased at the grocery store, but it is very easy to make – there is a recipe for it on RecipeTin Eats!

Vietnamese Beef Rice Noodle Bowls

1 lb thinly sliced beef, cut into 1″-2″ long strips
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Rice noodles (the long flat kind used for Pad Thai), cooked and cooled

Toppings
Shredded carrots
English cucumber, halved lengthwise then sliced
2-4 Tablespoons rice vinegar (depending on how many cucumbers and carrots you are using)
1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Hard boiled eggs
Bean sprouts
Sweet red pepper slices
Jalapeño pepper slices
Green onion slices
Lime wedges
Mint leaves
Crushed peanuts

Sauce
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
Juice from one lime
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon lemon grass, minced

Sprinkle the beef slices with ginger and garlic, then place in a 1 gallon zip top bag.  Add the soy sauce, seal the bag, and move the beef around to coat it evenly.  Allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours.

IMG_4155Place the carrots and cucumbers in a small bowl with a lid, sprinkle with salt and sugar, then pour rice vinegar over the top.  Stir, to dissolve the sugar and salt.  Cover with the lid and place in the refrigerator to absorb flavors for about an hour.  Gather the rest of your toppings and get them all together on a large plate or pan and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the bowls.  Be sure to shake up or stir the carrot-cucumber mixture before serving!

Make the sauce by whisking together all of the sauce ingredients, then cover it and refrigerate until you are ready to eat.IMG_4156

Cook the noodles according to package directions, or just place them in a large pot of water, bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes or so until the noodles are soft.  Drain, and rinse.

Remove the beef from the refrigerator, heat the canola and sesame oils in a large pan, and cook the green onion, the beef, and all the juices/marinade on high to medium high heat until no longer pink and the sauce just starts to caramelize.  Remove from heat.

Put the desired amount of noodles in the bottom of each bowl.  Top with the cooked beef, then add the toppings of your choice.  Serve with the sauce you prepared (whisking it before serving).

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